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Super Street Tech Support

Where We Cure All Your Tech Problems

Henry Z. De Kuyper
May 19, 2010

Here's where we act like we know something technical about cars. Feel free to ask us about your technical troubles. Write us at tech@superstreetonline.com or Super Street c/o Tech Support, 831 S. Douglas St. El Segundo, CA 90245. Feel free to include a picture of your project or tech problem. All photos submitted become ours, ours, ours... so don't send us something that doesn't belong to you in the first place.

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Q I have a B18C1 block with PR3 pistons, ported B16 head, OEM head gasket, 70mm throttle-body, Skunk2 springs, retainers and valves. My question is: can I run Skunk2 Stage 3 cams without having any problems, like bent valves?

Jurgen Miranda
AThat's a great question. Bigger cams will cause the valves to come closer to the pistons. While your B16A PR3 pistons have a higher dome than any B18C piston, the valve reliefs on top of the pistons are the same. It should be okay, but it comes down to what valves you're running. Skunk2 valves come in standard OE size and oversized. The oversized ones definitely have more of a chance of slapping the pistons. We suggest you call Skunk2 directly and see what they say. Don't forget to tell them if the head has been milled before or not. And if you don't know how to tell if your head has been, it's in the Helm's Manual. If they can't tell you, then you'll have to resort to taking the head off and doing a clay test.

Q I own a 1996 240SX with basically a stock motor. It seems lately a lot of people are swapping out stock KA motors for the ever so popular domestic LS V8 motor. There is no question why, but a question of how. My questions are: Is there a company out there that makes a swap kit? Can the stock 240SX rear end handle this kind of power? Could it be that everyone has openly embraced the idea of domestic powered imports? I remember years ago that this would ultimately mark your ride as the bastard child of cars. Now it's somehow accepted.

KJ Hardin
A The how part isn't that hard anymore. Years ago the only option was making your own custom mounts. Nowadays there are complete kits that allow you to bolt in an LSx engine into any S13 or S14 240SX. One of the kits we do like is the one from Sikky Manufacturing. It doesn't require you to cut or modify your crossmember, keeping its full OEM strength. The stock 240SX rear end can handle the power but if you want some more reassurance, you could swap it out for the Z32 300ZX rear end and '5-bolt' axle setup. American torque and power with Japanese handling is hard to not embrace. Drive one and you'll understand!

Q My 1993 Nissan Altima overheated and shut off on me. I checked for radiator leaks and it still had coolant in it. I was wondering what the problem could be? I was told that the head probably cracked but I want a professional opinion.

Reggie Williams
A Well if your car isn't leaking coolant at all, then the radiator and hoses are fine. There are three other pieces in the cooling system that can be faulty; the thermostat, water pump and fan. First test the fan to see if it's functional. Find the two wires coming from the fan and disconnect them. Then put power and ground to the wires and see if it comes on. Make sure you're doing this to your normal fan, not the AC fan. If that works out, you'll need to take the thermostat out to see if that's broken. The water pump will usually leak when it's bad, but it could also be bad without doing so. Once you've fixed the cause of the overheating, then you can drive it and see if the head is still good. If it's cracked, warped or if you have a bad headgasket from the overheating then your car will continue to overheat and run like poo.

Q I just picked up a 1995 Nissan 240SX. I'm going to start off with a 5-speed swap and then upgrading the whole suspension system before I drop out the KA. My question is what engine would I get the best bang for the buck? I know for sure I'm not sticking a GM LS series under there. And I know Toyota has the JZ engines which would be sick but no. I'd rather own a Nissan with a Nissan engine then a Nissan with a Yota engine in it.

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Jesse Piersa
A First off to help you with your sex change, we mean automatic to manual conversion, you should take a look at issue #10 of Project Car magazine. They did a full step-by-step manual conversion on the 240SX. If you didn't buy the issue last year when it was on the newsstands you can pick it up at www.simbackissues.com. Depending on your goal and what you do with your car, we can't tell you which engine will perform the best. Judging simply on horsepower, the KA would be the best per dollar being that you already have it. And an RB, LS1 or JZ would all require you to buy an engine and a mount kit. An SR20DET can run you as much as $2500, for up to 245hp. If you put that kind of money into turbocharging your KA24DE, you will definitely get more than 245hp.

Q What part do I need to covert my Civic to AWD? I know there is a Civic Ferio that is AWD with a B16 but I do not know which. I've also heard of a CR-X VTi but do not know if it's FWD or AWD. I've heard that the rear end 4WD Civic from the 80s is pretty much bolt on. If I went that route I would need to know where I can get a differential that is geared the same as the front differential. I plan on putting an LSD in the front.

Anthony Firth
A We don't know of any factory AWD option for the CR-X, but we have seen one CR-X converted to AWD. Since you're going to building a B-series, you will need the parts from the B-series CR-V. This is the only Honda transmission that will work for your conversion. The older Civic wagon also came AWD but it's a D-series transmission, and that's the same situation with the JDM Civic RTi and JDM Integra Xi (ZC). Sorry, but the parts do not just bolt up. You will need to figure a way to mount the rear end with a rear subframe. We haven't seen the conversion done without major welding and modification, and probably wouldn't recommend this unless you're that hard up for an AWD Civic.

Q I have a problem with my 1991 Nissan 240SX. When I turn the key it won't start. It doesn't even make a noise like it wants to start. I changed the fuses and the relays. What can it be: ignition, starter or what? Please help.

Roberto Arreola
A Well there are a few common problems with the 240SX of that age. First, lets look at the typical problems that would prevent any car from start-up. Make sure it's not the battery by trying a jump. Once you've ruled that out, it's time to test the starter. If your starter is bad, you can tap it with a hammer or some other metal bar and it will work again one more time. The other method is to just push start the car. If that doesn't work either then your starter is probably fine. Two common problems with older 240SX cars are bad fuel pumps and bad contacts in the ignition wiring. All cars need three things to start: air, fuel and spark. So now you have to see if the engine is not getting fuel or a spark (ignition related). To test for spark, pull a spark plug out leaving the wire attached to it. Then have someone try to start the car with you standing on the side to see if the plug sparks. To test for fuel, pull off the fuel line going to the fuel rail and then try to start the car and see if the fuel continues to flow out of the line. An aftermarket fuel pump is about $100 and the ignition switch is about $50.

Q I have a 1991 Geo Storm is there anything I could do to make it faster and better-looking? It has a four-cylinder and a five-speed in it.

Matt Clong
A We would first start by buying a 'For Sale' sign for it.

By Henry Z. De Kuyper
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